📊 The data:
We surveyed local agents and found that the average real estate commission in California is 4.91%, which is less than the national average of 5.37%.
The average total real estate agent commission rate in California is 4.91% of the final sale price. Based on the latest median home sale price in California ($747,352), that translates to a total cost of roughly $36,695.
Home sellers typically cover the total commission fee from their sale proceeds, which is split between the listing and buyer’s agents who handle the sale. In California, the average listing agent fee is 2.50%, while the average buyer’s agent fee is 2.41%.
Real estate agent commissions make up a significant portion of the closing costs for California home sellers. But you don't have to pay the full 4.91% to a traditional agent. If you're selling a home in California, you can use a discount broker to save on realtor fees. In fact, depending on your situation and the agents you work with, you could save 31% on realtor fees, or about $11,210 on average.
⚡ Find top agents and save: Answer these five simple questions to get matched with the best local agents offering reduced commission rates. Compare agents from top brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX, and get a discounted rate through Clever’s partner network.
How real estate commission works in California
|Average listing commission||2.50%|
|Average buyer's agent commission||2.41%|
|Total average commission||4.91%|
There are usually two real estate agents involved in the real estate transactions of a home sale:
- The seller's agent (also called the listing agent), who represents the home seller
- The buyer's agent, who represents the person buying the home
Based on our research, the average real estate commission paid in California for listing agents is 2.50% of the final home price and 2.41% for buyer's agents, for a total of 4.91%.
Real estate commission calculator for California
Use this commission calculator to estimate how much you'll pay in realtor fees when you sell your home in California. Enter an estimate of your home's sale price, and see how much you'll pay at different commission rates.
Who pays realtor fees in California?
When selling a home in California, the real estate agent fees for both the seller's and buyer's representatives are subtracted from the final sales price. You don't need to pay these costs upfront.
The seller's agent makes their fee by supplying services like market evaluation and managing the closing process. The buyer's agent makes their fee by bringing a qualified purchaser who meets the contract stipulations and completes the sale on time.
If you want to decrease your realtor fees, Clever can connect you with a top area listing agent who charges just 1.5%. This will enable you to retain more money from the sale for yourself.
Why do sellers pay the buyer's real estate agent commission?
Offering to cover the buyer's agent fee will likely attract more potential purchasers for your home.
Taking on this cost makes your home more appealing to buyers, who otherwise would need to pay their agent's fee upfront plus the down payment and closing charges. Many buyers can't afford these extra initial expenditures.
When you make a competitive offer for the buyer's agent fee, real estate agents are more incentivized to showcase your home to their clients. This increases your odds of getting multiple offers. Real estate professionals recommend advertising a buyer's agent fee within 0.5% of the local standard, which is 2.41% in California.
Will the NAR lawsuit change how real estate commission works?
A November 2023 lawsuit found the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Homeservices of America, and Keller Williams Realty guilty of misleading sellers into paying high realtor fees.
The judge agreed with the plaintiffs that sellers should not be on the hook for the buyer's agent commission. It's too early to tell if this decision will change how buyer's agents are paid. We're monitoring the appeal in this case as well as other lawsuits and will keep you updated.
» READ MORE:
How to save on realtor fees in California
Commission rates are not set in stone. In fact, we found that while 2.50% is the average in California, rates typically fall between 4.09% and 5.73%. You can save money by negotiating a lower rate with your listing agent or by working with a discount real estate brokerage.
|Listing commission range||2.09%– 2.91%|
|Buyer's agent commission||2.00%– 2.82%|
|Total commission range||4.09%– 5.73%|
Can I negotiate realtor commission in California?
Real estate commission is always negotiable. In California, the 58 agents we surveyed said these were their most common reasons for agreeing to lower their commission.
|Would you lower your commission for…?||Agents who answered yes|
|Homeowners who are repeat clients||66%|
|Homeowners who also plan to buy with you||66%|
|Homeowners with more than one property to sell||64%|
|Seller’s situation (e.g. divorce or death in the family)||50%|
|Higher property values||43%|
|High competition for clients||41%|
|Homes expected to sell quickly||36%|
|High buyer demand in the area||29%|
|Periods of low housing inventory||22%|
|Houses in excellent condition||19%|
|Highly experienced home sellers||15%|
Negotiating realtor fees in California depends on two main factors: your situation and the housing market.
|Factor||You may have an easier time negotiating low rates if...|
|The California housing market||
While your personal circumstances may vary, real estate conditions in California will impact all home sellers in the area.
Generally in a seller's market, where home sellers have more leverage than buyers, listing agents' jobs are more straightforward so they may be more open to reducing their fees. The opposite is often true in a buyer's market.
Not comfortable negotiating with a real estate agent? Avoid the awkward discussion and let Clever pre-negotiate a lower rate with a top local agent for you.
To assess the current state of your local real estate market, examine these three factors:
- Months of inventory
- Sale to list price ratio
- Home value movements
If all factors indicate California is a seller's market, you may be in a good position to negotiate a lower rate with your agent. If market conditions are mixed or favor buyers, it may be tougher to get your realtor to accept a cheaper commission.
The current state of the California real estate market
|Months of inventory||There's 1.5 months of housing inventory on the market||Seller's market|
|Sale-to-list ratio||Homes are selling for 98.90% of their listing price||Seller's market|
|Home values||Home values have risen 31.76% year over year||Seller's market|
Low commission real estate companies in California
Negotiating a lower rate with a professional negotiator can be hard! In many cases, home sellers can save just as much (or more!) by selling with a low commission real estate company.
Discount real estate brokers typically offer full-service support for a reduced commission percentage or flat rate. How they create those discounts will depend on the company's model, with some creating more risks and trade-offs than others.
Clever Real EstateLearn More
Overview: Clever is our top pick in California for home sellers looking to save on realtor commission without sacrificing service.
✅ Benefits and features: Clever gets you discounted rates (up to 50%) from non-discount realtors. Plus Clever’s matching service is highly rated and free to use with no obligation.
🏠 How it works: Clever matches you with top local realtors from major brokerages like RE/MAX and Compass. You compare options to find the best fit and get the special 1.5% listing fee (same as Redfin) no matter who you choose.
- Sell with a traditional agent from a name-brand brokerage (not a discount agent)
- Agents work for up to 50% off their typical rate when you go through Clever
- Most agent selection by far — choose from many top California realtors
- No guarantee that you’ll be able to work with a specific agent or brokerage of your choice
- Additional services like professional staging, drone photos, and 3D tours may come with an extra cost (agents will provide detailed information during their listing presentation)
- 1.5% listing commission ($3,000 min.) paid at closing
- 2–3% buyer’s agent commission paid at closing
Redfin CaliforniaLearn More
Overview: Redfin’s discount real estate service offers a decent value overall for most home sellers in California.
✅ Benefits and features: Redfin’s 1.5% listing fees can net you solid savings, and you can get an additional 0.5% listing fee savings if you sell and buy with Redfin within 12 months. Redfin is also a large, well-established brand with more discount realtors to choose from than many local discount real estate brokers.
🚩 Potential red flags: Redfin’s tech-centric and team-based approach to selling isn’t for everyone. Redfin conducts most of the process remotely, and you work with a Lead Agent and a back-office team. Redfin also has a minimum fee of $2,000–9,000 in California, depending upon the location. So depending on where you’re selling, you may pay slightly more than the advertised 1.5% rate for a lower-priced home.
- Significant savings on listing fees
- Respected reputation and reliable agents
- Appealing, technology-driven approach for sellers who prefer it
- May not be the ideal choice for those seeking a more hands-on, personalized agent experience
- The $2,000–9,000 minimum fee range in California is higher than alternatives
- Redfin has a smaller agent pool compared to Clever
- 1.5% listing fee ($2,000–9,000 min. in California) at closing
- 2–3% buyer’s agent commission at closing
- 0.5% listing fee refund if you also buy with Redfin within 12 months
*Not enough available data at this time
Hours: 8 a.m.–5 p.m. CT, 7 days a week
Address: 2710 Media Center Dr, #210, Los Angeles, CA 90065
Areas served: California
Trelora RealtyRead More
Our take: Trelora Realty is a full-service discount real estate company with a unique team approach, offering potential savings on realtor fees.
✅ Benefits and features: Trelora provides significantly discounted commission rates compared to traditional realtors, which has generated positive customer reviews. This company also uses a team of real estate professionals to serve each client, which could allow for a more diversified range of expertise and service.
🚩 Potential red flags: Rather than assigning a single agent to facilitate the entire process, Trelora uses a team of agents. This approach could potentially cause confusion or lack of personalization (especially if there’s no clear communication).
- Significant savings due to low 1% commission rate
- Positive customer reviews
- Some sellers may enjoy working with a team vs. a single agent
- Potential lack of personal service due to team-based approach
- 1% listing fee at closing
- 2–3% buyer’s agent commission at closing
Address: 2110 K St, Sacramento, CA 95816
Areas served: Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington
Thinking of selling your home but don't know where to start? Here are some next steps.
Start interviewing local agents
Set up some listing appointments, where an agent visits your home to discuss its estimated value, lay out their marketing strategy, and provide a quote for their fee.
Here's why it's smart to sit down with a few agents before signing with one:
It's completely free to meet with agents: There's no obligation or risk on your end. Just keep in mind that the agent is meeting with you to win your business, and will try to sell you on their service.
You can compare pricing and features: Shopping around helps you find the best fit for your specific needs – in terms of fees, experience, and services provided.
Learn more about your market from an expert: Realtors can provide local data, like how much nearby homes are selling for, how fast they sell, and other current market trends.
Learn about the home sales process: An agent can walk you through the sales process from start to finish, and provide tailored advice for marketing your property to home buyers.
To get started, check out our guide on the best ways to find real estate agents — or you can sign up for Clever’s free agent matching service below to connect with top realtors in your area right now (and save on commission).
Clever has pre-negotiated low commission rates of only 1.5%, with California's top agents. Contact Clever today to find out how much you can save on commission!
Clever can connect you with top local agents sell your house for a pre-negotiated low rate: just a 1.5% listing fee when your home sells (half the typical rate!).
You can interview your Clever agent matches, get free pricing estimates, and compare marketing plans — all with no strings attached.
Ready to learn more? Click below to take our simple quiz and see your agent matches!
We gathered our commission rate data from a survey of 623 of our partner agents. The survey asked about standard local rates for both listing and buying agents. We also asked agents about when and why they're willing to negotiate real estate commissions.
Additionally, we utilized the following data from Zillow and Realtor.com:
- Home values, list prices, and sale prices: Based on Zillow data as of August 2023
- Sale prices and sale-to-list ratios: Based on Redfin data as of February 2023 (unless specified otherwise)
- Months of inventory: Based on Realtor.com data as of February 2023